Can Traveling Cause Skin Issues?

Unpredictable weather, food choices, stress, mask wearing – there are plenty of factors that contribute to skin breakouts. Another sabotage? Travel.

Can traveling cause skin issues?
While traveling in 2020 was non-existent for a majority of us, 2021 is the year we all have hopes to see the world again. From traveling in planes, trains, and automobiles, to staying in hotels, rentals, and interrupting your otherwise regularly scheduled skincare routine, it is not uncommon for skin conditions to flare up during or shortly after travel. According to Dr. August Natalie, board-certified dermatologist with Forefront Dermatology, “Oftentimes, individuals have strict skincare routines while at home, regularly using certain products, maybe having less stress, but when we travel oftentimes it is easy to throw that all out the window for a week. Add in a different humidity-level environment and sensitive skin or certain skin conditions, taking a week off can be havoc for your skin.”

Additionally, since COVID-19 mask wearing is the new normal you may see increased skin irritation if, for travel purposes, you are wearing a mask more often than you typically would at home. Masks can be hard on your skin, causing problems that range from acne and peeling skin to rashes and itchiness. Masks trap heat, moisture, and bacteria as well as causing friction and irritation. This environment is a recipe for breakouts. Pores are more likely to become clogged leading to pimples or cysts.

What can I do to help my skin stay healthy while traveling?
There are a few things you can do to promote healthy skin while traveling. Here are Dr. Natalie’s top tips for healthy skin during and after travel.

  1. Stick as closely to your normal skincare routine as possible
    The best course of success is maintaining your regular skincare routine. If you don’t want to pack the full bottles of your skincare products, purchase the travel-size containers at your local drug store and take only what you will need.
  2. Tailor your skincare routine to the destination.
    While we want you to stick as closely to your skincare routine as possible, it is also important to tailor it to your destination. When you book a trip, you likely pick somewhere with a different climate than you live in. This means you will want to tailor your skincare routine based on where you are going. For example, if you live in the cold and are using a heavy moisturizer when you head to a warmer destination you will want to opt for a lightweight moisturizer to prevent your skin from getting greasy and breaking out.
  3. Keep your skin hydrated
    Traveling can mean being in and out of different humidity-level environments causing your skin to become dehydrated. Pack a proper moisturizer and have it with you while traveling. Apply regularly, before your skin can become dry.
  4. Pack enough masks and regularly rotate
    Since you will likely not be able to properly wash your masks while traveling, it is important to pack enough masks and regularly rotate them. Dirt and oil from your skin plus bacteria from your mouth and nose will end up on your cloth mask. If you continue to wear the same mask every day you likely will suffer from acne or irritated skin.
  5. Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen
    As always, we recommend regular use of sunscreen – no matter the mode of transportation and destination! Sunscreen is vital whether you are traveling to the beach or mountains, and even if you are traveling on an airplane. Studies have shown higher rates of skin cancer in pilots and flight attendants. If you are in the window seat, it is highly suggested to lower the shade as the window does not block the sun’s UV rays.

Is your skin or hair suffering since the COVID-19 pandemic began?
We recommend that anyone with new or worsening hair loss or skin conditions seek out help from a board-certified dermatologist to determine the cause and find a course of treatment that fits your lifestyle and budget. Find a Forefront dermatologist near you today.